Structural determinants for ligand capture by a class II preQ1 riboswitch.
ABSTRACT: Prequeuosine (preQ1) riboswitches are RNA regulatory elements located in the 5' UTR of genes involved in the biosynthesis and transport of preQ1, a precursor of the modified base queuosine universally found in four tRNAs. The preQ1 class II (preQ1-II) riboswitch regulates preQ1 biosynthesis at the translational level. We present the solution NMR structure and conformational dynamics of the 59 nucleotide Streptococcus pneumoniae preQ1-II riboswitch bound to preQ1. Unlike in the preQ1 class I (preQ1-I) riboswitch, divalent cations are required for high-affinity binding. The solution structure is an unusual H-type pseudoknot featuring a P4 hairpin embedded in loop 3, which forms a three-way junction with the other two stems. (13)C relaxation and residual dipolar coupling experiments revealed interhelical flexibility of P4. We found that the P4 helix and flanking adenine residues play crucial and unexpected roles in controlling pseudoknot formation and, in turn, sequestering the Shine-Dalgarno sequence. Aided by divalent cations, P4 is poised to act as a "screw cap" on preQ1 recognition to block ligand exit and stabilize the binding pocket. Comparison of preQ1-I and preQ1-II riboswitch structures reveals that whereas both form H-type pseudoknots and recognize preQ1 using one A, C, or U nucleotide from each of three loops, these nucleotides interact with preQ1 differently, with preQ1 inserting into different grooves. Our studies show that the preQ1-II riboswitch uses an unusual mechanism to harness exquisite control over queuosine metabolism.
Project description:PreQ1-III riboswitches are newly identified RNA elements that control bacterial genes in response to preQ1 (7-aminomethyl-7-deazaguanine), a precursor to the essential hypermodified tRNA base queuosine. Although numerous riboswitches fold as H-type or HLout-type pseudoknots that integrate ligand-binding and regulatory sequences within a single folded domain, the preQ1-III riboswitch aptamer forms a HLout-type pseudoknot that does not appear to incorporate its ribosome-binding site (RBS). To understand how this unusual organization confers function, we determined the crystal structure of the class III preQ1 riboswitch from Faecalibacterium prausnitzii at 2.75 Å resolution. PreQ1 binds tightly (KD,app 6.5 ± 0.5 nM) between helices P1 and P2 of a three-way helical junction wherein the third helix, P4, projects orthogonally from the ligand-binding pocket, exposing its stem-loop to base pair with the 3' RBS. Biochemical analysis, computational modeling, and single-molecule FRET imaging demonstrated that preQ1 enhances P4 reorientation toward P1-P2, promoting a partially nested, H-type pseudoknot in which the RBS undergoes rapid docking (kdock ? 0.6 s(-1)) and undocking (kundock ? 1.1 s(-1)). Discovery of such dynamic conformational switching provides insight into how a riboswitch with bipartite architecture uses dynamics to modulate expression platform accessibility, thus expanding the known repertoire of gene control strategies used by regulatory RNAs.
Project description:PreQ1 riboswitches regulate the synthesis of the hypermodified tRNA base queuosine by sensing the pyrrolopyrimidine metabolite preQ1. Here, we use single-molecule FRET to interrogate the structural dynamics of apo and preQ1-bound states of the preQ1-II riboswitch from Lactobacillus rhamnosus. We find that the apo-form of the riboswitch spontaneously samples multiple conformations. Magnesium ions and preQ1 stabilize conformations that sequester the ribosome-binding site of the mRNA within the pseudoknotted structure, thus inhibiting translation initiation. Our results reveal that folding of the preQ1-II riboswitch is complex and provide evidence favoring a conformational selection model of effector binding by riboswitches of this class.
Project description:PreQ1 riboswitches regulate genes by binding the pyrrolopyrimidine intermediate preQ1 during the biosynthesis of the essential tRNA base queuosine. We report what is to our knowledge the first preQ1-II riboswitch structure at 2.3-Å resolution, which uses a previously uncharacterized fold to achieve effector recognition at the confluence of a three-way helical junction flanking a pseudoknotted ribosome-binding site. The results account for translational control mediated by the preQ1-II riboswitch class and expand the known repertoire of ligand-binding modes used by regulatory RNAs.
Project description:PreQ1 riboswitches help regulate the biosynthesis and transport of preQ1 (7-aminomethyl-7-deazaguanine), a precursor of the hypermodified guanine nucleotide queuosine (Q), in a number of Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Fusobacteria. Queuosine is almost universally found at the wobble position of the anticodon in asparaginyl, tyrosyl, histidyl and aspartyl tRNAs, where it contributes to translational fidelity. Two classes of preQ1 riboswitches have been identified (preQ1-I and preQ1-II), and structures of examples from both classes have been determined. Both classes form H-type pseudoknots upon preQ1 binding, each of which has distinct unusual features and modes of preQ1 recognition. These features include an unusually long loop 2 in preQ1-I pseudoknots and an embedded hairpin in loop 3 in preQ1-II pseudoknots. PreQ1-I riboswitches are also notable for their unusually small aptamer domain, which has been extensively investigated by NMR, X-ray crystallography, FRET, and other biophysical methods. Here we review the discovery, structural biology, ligand specificity, cation interactions, folding, dynamics, and applications to biotechnology of preQ1 riboswitches. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Riboswitches.
Project description:Riboswitches are a class of metabolism control elements mostly found in bacteria. Due to their fundamental importance in bacteria gene regulation, riboswitches have been proposed as antibacterial drug targets. Prequeuosine (preQ1) is the last free precursor in the biosynthetic pathway of queuosine that is crucial for translation efficiency and fidelity. However, the regulation mechanism for the preQ1 riboswitch remains unclear. Here we constructed fluctuation correlation network based on all-atom molecular dynamics simulations to reveal the regulation mechanism. The results suggest that the correlation network in the bound riboswitch is distinctly different from that in the apo riboswitch. The community network indicates that the information freely transfers from the binding site of preQ1 to the expression platform of the P3 helix in the bound riboswitch and the P3 helix is a bottleneck in the apo riboswitch. Thus, a hypothesis of "preQ1-binding induced allosteric switching" is proposed to link riboswitch and translation regulation. The community networks of mutants support this hypothesis. Finally, a possible allosteric pathway of A50-A51-A52-U10-A11-G12-G56 was also identified based on the shortest path algorithm and confirmed by mutations and network perturbation. The novel fluctuation network analysis method can be used as a general strategy in studies of riboswitch structure-function relationship.
Project description:Structural and dynamic features of RNA folding landscapes represent critical aspects of RNA function in the cell and are particularly central to riboswitch-mediated control of gene expression. Here, using single-molecule fluorescence energy transfer imaging, we explore the folding dynamics of the preQ1 class II riboswitch, an upstream mRNA element that regulates downstream encoded modification enzymes of queuosine biosynthesis. For reasons that are not presently understood, the classical pseudoknot fold of this system harbors an extra stem-loop structure within its 3'-terminal region immediately upstream of the Shine-Dalgarno sequence that contributes to formation of the ligand-bound state. By imaging ligand-dependent preQ1 riboswitch folding from multiple structural perspectives, we reveal that the extra stem-loop strongly influences pseudoknot dynamics in a manner that decreases its propensity to spontaneously fold and increases its responsiveness to ligand binding. We conclude that the extra stem-loop sensitizes this RNA to broaden the dynamic range of the ON/OFF regulatory switch.
Project description:Previously, two riboswitch classes have been identified that sense and respond to the hypermodified nucleobase called prequeuosine1 (preQ1). The enormous expansion of available genomic DNA sequence data creates new opportunities to identify additional representatives of the known riboswitch classes and to discover novel classes. We conducted bioinformatics searches on microbial genomic DNA data sets to discover numerous additional examples belonging to the two previously known riboswitch classes for preQ1 (classes preQ1-I and preQ1-II), including some structural variants that further restrict ligand specificity. Additionally, we discovered a third preQ1-binding riboswitch class (preQ1-III) that is structurally distinct from previously known classes. These findings demonstrate that numerous organisms monitor the concentrations of this modified nucleobase by exploiting one or more riboswitch classes for this widespread compound.
Project description:Riboswitches are cis-acting RNA fragments that regulate gene expression by sensing cellular levels of the associated small metabolites. In bacteria, the class I preQ(1) riboswitch allows the fine-tuning of queuosine biosynthesis in response to the intracellular concentration of the queuosine anabolic intermediate preQ(1). When binding preQ(1), the aptamer domain undergoes a significant degree of secondary and tertiary structural rearrangement and folds into an H-type pseudoknot. Conformational "switching" of the riboswitch aptamer domain upon recognizing its cognate metabolite plays a key role in the regulatory mechanism of the preQ(1) riboswitch. We investigate the folding mechanism of the preQ(1) riboswitch aptamer domain using all-atom Go?-model simulations. The folding pathway of such a single domain is found to be cooperative and sequentially coordinated, as the folding proceeds in the 5' ? 3' direction. This kinetically efficient folding mechanism suggests a fast ligand-binding response in competition with RNA elongation.
Project description:Riboswitches are RNA molecules that regulate gene expression using conformational change, affected by binding of small molecule ligands. A crystal structure of a ligand-bound class II preQ1 riboswitch has been determined in a previous structural study. To gain insight into the dynamics of this riboswitch in solution, eight total molecular dynamic simulations, four with and four without ligand, were performed using the Amber force field. In the presence of ligand, all four of the simulations demonstrated rearranged base pairs at the 3' end, consistent with expected base-pairing from comparative sequence analysis in a prior bioinformatic analysis; this suggests the pairing in this region was altered by crystallization. Additionally, in the absence of ligand, three of the simulations demonstrated similar changes in base-pairing at the ligand binding site. Significantly, although most of the riboswitch architecture remained intact in the respective trajectories, the P3 stem was destabilized in the ligand-free simulations in a way that exposed the Shine-Dalgarno sequence. This work illustrates how destabilization of two major groove base triples can influence a nearby H-type pseudoknot and provides a mechanism for control of gene expression by a fold that is frequently found in bacterial riboswitches.
Project description:We report here the behavior of naturally occurring and rationally engineered preQ1 riboswitches and their application to inducible gene regulation in mycobacteria. Because mycobacteria lack preQ1 biosynthetic genes, we hypothesized that preQ1 could be used as an exogenous nonmetabolite ligand to control riboswitches in mycobacteria. Selected naturally occurring preQ1 riboswitches were assayed and successfully drove preQ1-dependent repression of a green fluorescent protein reporter in Mycobacterium smegmatis Using structure-based design, we engineered three preQ1 riboswitches from Thermoanaerobacter tencongensis, Bacillus subtilis, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus toward achieving higher response ratios and increased repression. Assuming a steady-state model, variants of the T. tencongensis riboswitch most closely followed the predicted trends. Unexpectedly, the preQ1 dose response was best described by a model with a second, independent preQ1 binding site. This behavior was general to the preQ1 riboswitch family, since the wild type and rationally designed mutants of riboswitches from all three bacteria behaved analogously. Across all variants, the response ratios, which describe expression in the absence versus the presence of preQ1, ranged from <2 to ?10, but repression in all cases was incomplete up to 1 mM preQ1. By reducing the transcript expression level, we obtained a preQ1 riboswitch variant appropriate for inducible knockdown applications. We further showed that the preQ1 response is reversible, is titratable, and can be used to control protein expression in mycobacteria within infected macrophages. By engineering naturally occurring preQ1 riboswitches, we have not only extended the tools available for inducible gene regulation in mycobacteria but also uncovered new behavior of these riboswitches.IMPORTANCE Riboswitches are elements found in noncoding regions of mRNA that regulate gene expression, typically in response to an endogenous metabolite. Riboswitches have emerged as important tools for inducible gene expression in diverse organisms. We noted that mycobacteria lack the biosynthesis genes for preQ1, a ligand for riboswitches from diverse bacteria. Predicting that preQ1 is not present in mycobacteria, we showed that it controls optimized riboswitches appropriate for gene knockdown applications. Further, the riboswitch response is subject to a second independent preQ1 binding event that has not been previously documented. By engineering naturally occurring riboswitches, we have uncovered a new behavior, with implications for riboswitch function in its native context, and extended the tools available for inducible gene regulation in mycobacteria.